Cancel-proof your life: Get your financial house in order
Last week, I explored the need to cancel-proof your life so you’re prepared for when the “woke monster” comes looking to devour you for something you wrote, said or did — even if it was decades ago.
When making yourself cancel-proof, the first thing you’ll want to do is ensure that your financial house is in order. That way, when the axe falls and you find yourself without a job or your business shut down, you won’t have to worry about how you are going to cover all your other bills while still having money available for essential things, like food.
Pay in advance
Some families have started paying for utilities a year in advance to create big credits on their accounts. There is some debate whether this is a good financial move or not.
People who like the idea say it is one less thing to worry about if you get cancelled or otherwise lose a job. Some companies even offer discounts for paying in advance.
However, those who don’t like the idea cite the hassle associated with trying to get a refund if you need the cash or wind up moving to an area that uses different utility companies. They also say people are less likely to review their monthly bills for irregularities if they know a payment is not due.
Although it hasn’t been tried yet, who is to say that shutting off all your utilities because you’re a “house of hate” isn’t beyond the realm of the woke monster?
Get out of debt — now! It will be disastrous for you and your family if you’re cancelled or lose your job and still have hundreds, or thousands of dollars in monthly payments for loans and credit cards.
I learned that lesson the hard way during the recession of 2009 when my wife and I both lost our jobs within six weeks of each other — and we had so many bills that we were paying $4,000 per month in interest alone.
Consequently, it did not end well for our marriage or our financial situation when we were forced into bankruptcy.
Now is the ideal time to pay down debt because the interest earned to keep cash in savings is much, much lower than any interest paid for any debt you owe, especially on credit cards.
Yes, you need to keep some cash on hand for unexpected emergencies. Most financial gurus recommend having $1,000 in cash set aside for an emergency fund. But throw as much money as you can toward your debt while you still have an income.
Cash is king
Christian financial experts, like Dave Ramsey, have suggested for years that people accumulate a cash reserve equal to three to six months of their total living expenses.
However, after COVID restrictions resulted in massive business closures and job losses, many people now say six months is the minimum financial reserve to have on hand, and we should strive to bump that up to one year for even more peace of mind.
I know setting aside money to cover six months of expenses is a big number, let alone to cover an entire year. But, even with interest rates hovering between abysmally low levels of 0.05% to 0.5%, the peace of mind a financial reserve provides will be well worth the effort it takes to accumulate the cash.
A lot of people have made really good money investing in the stock market, but it never really worked well for me. I either paid more in fees to plan administrators than I earned in mutual funds, or I lost a bunch of money following bad advice or due to some new government regulation that caused a stock or industry to tank.
Yes, some of it was bad timing on my part, but it has become very apparent to me that normal people really don’t stand a chance competing against giant investment firms and their algorithms that can artificially manipulate stock prices to reap benefits for their wealthy clients.
Financial gurus still advocate investing in stocks, but it’s a risk I really don’t feel comfortable taking due to market volatility.
Where to store your cash
Once you have accumulated your cash, where should you keep it? A bank appears to be the obvious choice, but with banks cancelling business clients for their positions on social issues, or for even failing to take sides in the great culture war, it may be more feasible to keep some cash in several different financial institutions.
This move also protects you from bank failure in the event of a major economic collapse. If one bank runs dry, you’ll still have money at other nearby banks. Besides, it never hurts to develop relationships with several financial institutions, especially with Christian managers working there.
I recently opened accounts at the Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU) in Brea, Calif. As a Christian writer, I feel less at risk of having my accounts cancelled by ECCU for simply espousing a Biblical viewpoint with the material I produce. Because ECCU belongs to a nationwide network of credit unions, I can get cash pretty much anywhere I travel.
While it is generally safer to keep some cash in a financial institution, it also doesn’t hurt to keep a supply of cash at home where you’ll have ready access to it.
Storing money under the mattress has been the source of many jokes over the years because it is not protected against theft or fire. So, having a fireproof safe would be a better solution. Keep in mind, nothing is truly fireproof. Given enough time or heat, anything can burn.
However, a UL Class 125 safe ensures that temperatures inside will not exceed 125 degrees Fahrenheit when exposed to heat up to 1,700 degrees for one hour. That’s a bit better than a UL Class 350 safe, which ensures internal temperatures will not exceed 350 degrees when exposed to the same level of heat for the same length of time.
You can get a simple, portable fireproof safe big enough to protect some cash and important documents for less than $35. Just be sure to tuck it away somewhere that the safe can’t easily grow legs and disappear.
For about $275, you can get a bigger, heavier safe with the option of using a key or a digital combination lock. It even has a locking drawer inside to provide even more security for storing a weapon or cash.
If you have a lot of weapons or valuables to protect, then a larger safe can be purchased for a little more than $1,000. At 420 pounds, this baby won’t walk away easily.
Coins and metals
In addition to some paper currency, it may be a good idea to acquire some precious metals, like gold and silver, too. That could be in the form of bars, coins or “rounds,” which are the size as coins, but not designated as official currency.
While having precious metals on hand provides a hedge against hyperinflation in the event of total economic collapse, owning some is nice because it can’t burn up in a fire.
Yes, the price of these commodities can fluctuate considerably from year to year, still owning rare metals means they generally retain some value, unlike paper money that can be devalued at the whim of elected officials.
As of today, gold is trading at $1,700 an ounce, while silver is selling for $25.50 an ounce. The problem with investing in coins becomes evident when you really need cash in a hurry. Then, having metals isn’t as nice as currency, which means you’ll probably have to find someone to buy the metals in order to convert them into cash. So, keep the metals tucked away for an emergency.
If you’re going to acquire precious metals, many investors recommend getting smaller sizes simply for the ability to use them as cash. For example, it will be easier to find someone to give you $25 for a real silver dollar than it would be to unload a 1 kilo (35.27 ounce) gold bar worth $56,000.
Places like SD Bullion sell what’s known as “junk silver,” which are real American coins minted prior to 1964 when the U.S. government used to make them with real silver.
It’s hard to think that coins which jingled in my pocket as loose change just a few decades ago are considered “junk” today. But, it’s valuable junk. To buy $10 in face value of quarters and dimes, you’ll spend almost $250 to acquire them today.
Junk silver isn’t as pretty as the shiny new 1-ounce coins, but if you ever have to buy groceries, it will be easier to trade a silver dime for a few loaves of bread.
I know several people who are really starting to stockpile items for their own use as well as to have items to barter if things ever get really bad.
Bartering is an under-the-table system of trade where you exchange one item of value for others. When Christianity is eventually outlawed, bartering is what will allow families to survive, if not thrive.
I just started reading a book titled Get Prepared Now by Michael Snyder and Barbara Fix. The authors devote part of a chapter to bartering by listing hundreds of things that people will likely need or want in any emergency. So, if you have some of those items on hand, then you can barter them for things your family will need.
The list includes obvious items like food, soap, toothpaste, first aid supplies and storage containers, but also lists items like games, office supplies, tools, heat and light sources. Having a supply of water with purification tablets is also good to have in any climate. If the power goes out, then water pumps won’t work around your community.
Ammunition is also a good bartering item. I’ve read stories where people predict it could become a currency in an underground economy and almost as valuable as precious metals. Have you seen prices for ammunition lately? It has skyrocketed since the end of January — if you can find any at all.
People are also stockpiling bulk foods, like rice, beans, cereal, canned goods, dehydrated vegetables and freeze-dried meals. Some of those items will have to be replaced every year, but others have a 25-year shelf life.
I know all this sounds extreme, kind of like the way doomsday preppers talk.
But, remember, Revelation tells us that the cancel culture will someday get so bad for Christians that they will not be able to buy or sell anything. The cancel culture of today is a prelude to the coming persecution promised in the Bible.
When I was younger, I was a Boy Scout — an Eagle actually. The Scout motto is “Be prepared.” It means to be ready, willing and able to do whatever is necessary in any situation that comes along to provide for yourself or to help others.
Spending some time today to take inventory of what you have in stock now and what you may need if you find yourself in the jaws of the woke monster can help you survive the cancel culture as well as ensure your security in the event of any calamity.
Originally published at https://www.greggerber.com on March 7, 2021.